2015 was an incredible year for myself, but more importantly it was a record breaking year for eSports. Tournament winnings rose to unbelievable amounts and gamers around the world tuned into more broadcasts than ever.
I started the year in full force. I had recently left university and was offered my first full-time position within eSports. Gfinity approached me with the chance to produce their videos for live production.
I packed my bags and moved to London. Coming from the small and not so great town of Blackpool, I relished the chance to experience living in a city I'd always loved.
Fast forward a couple of months and Gfinity had just opened the UK's first eSports arena, it was exciting knowing the best teams from around the globe would be competing here and I'd be the guy interviewing & filming the professionals I'd admired for so long.
I started exploring the documentary side of eSports, I began learning about the personal lives of these professional gamers. It really gave me a drive to improve as I felt I found my passion. I ended up filming/editing over 50 feature videos whilst at Gfinity, it was essentially a 'fat-camp' for filmmakers.
Feature with CoD Pro 'ProoFy'. Filmed by Lewis Farley/Edited by Elliott Hayes
I eventually left Gfinity after around 7 months of working at the arena. I needed a change so I decided to move back home to Blackpool and start-up once again as a freelancer.
Riot Games (League of Legends)
This is something I haven't really spoken about or mentioned to many people other than close friends/family. A little while back I was flown out to Berlin for an interview with Riot Games. The job was essentially producing features for the EU LCS stream (much like my previous job at Gfinity).
This was an extremely big opportunity for myself, the appeal of shooting League of Legends content and the opportunity of relocating to Berlin was surreal. Overall I had around 10 interviews (I think!?) some through skype, the rest face-to-face at the Berlin office.
In the end I didn't get the job and as gutting as that was, I can honestly say I learnt a huge amount. I was asked questions that I'd not really thought about as a filmmaker, it pushed me to change my attitude and put myself out there a little more.
Monster Energy Gaming
Over the final months of 2015 I started working closely with Monster Energy, I became one of their few contracted eSport freelancers.
In brief; my job role is to travel to various events around the globe, photographing & filming content on the teams that they sponsor.
In November I was sent to Romania for DreamHack Cluj which was by far the best event I've ever attended. I shot a cool feature I'm super proud of with the Fnatic & nV guys (this has yet to be released!)
and you seriously haven't been to an eSport event until you've been to a CS:GO major.
A month later I was sent to DreamHack Winter 2015 (Sweden) - another country I'd never had the pleasure of visiting until now!
This event was a real eye opener. Thousands of gamers of all ages turned up with their computers & desk chairs to play games for 5 days straight. I literally had no idea that BYOC (bring your own computer/console) events were so big!
I ended up shooting mostly photography along with two short features on a Loda (DOTA) and Dennis (CS:GO) - (both yet to be released)
London Comic-Con (Riot Games)
Prior to the job interview with Riot Games, I was approached earlier on in the year to produce a video for them at London Comic-Con. This was my first ever Comic-Con event so I wasn't sure what to expect.
ESL UK Premiership video produced for Riot Games / ESL by Lewis Farley
The event itself was huge, cos-players everywhere. ESL had a small stage set-up for the League of Legends UK tournament they had going on. I focused mainly on shooting that and then little bits of the League cos-players around the venue.
EGL & Insomnia
I've previously worked a fair bit with EGL so naturally I was contacted in the final quarter of the year to shoot some promo content at the EGL Open. Due to the video material being for private (sponsor) use only I don't have access to any videos that have been made with the footage.
My final shoot of the year was another BYOC event, Insomnia. I had never previously been to an Insomnia event but had always heard good things. I worked along side another videographer to produce features for the stream (Halo, CoD, CS:GO & Dota). Again, these videos aren't online.
In total I managed to shoot 22 eSport events in 3 different countries. Over 70 esport related videos for various clients. It's been an amazing journey so far and I'm back shooting my first event of 2016 next week at DreamHack Leipzig (Germany) with Monster Energy Gaming.
Lewis Farley is a filmmaker specialising in esports & documentary.